We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofTristen Tiscareno

There are a lot of life lessons that you learn from within yourself, not from books, family, nobody. The realization we specifically make about ourselves is what we live within each waking moment, something I've learned recently. My bemusement of art and design roots from my kind of early years of middle school. I essentially had a friend who would specifically draw characters and people from video games often. I specifically looked up to him to a great amount to where I felt inclined to try out art myself. I pushed myself constantly to make the best work I could generally do to try to one-up my friend. Of course, it never was quite like the art he made. In the following months, I chose to show him some of the art I've made, even my first drawing that I put considerable effort and work into, which is quite significant. When he saw my first drawing, he couldn't help himself to really mock it and to make fun of it, much to my dismay. From that point on, I was so jealous and angry at him to where I just kept making art, being the best I possibly could, making more and more noticeable progress with each passing year. Recently, however, with college approaching and high school ending, I’ve been peering at my career of art and whether or not it's something I should particularly be proud of, since it's something I started of pure jealousy and hate. I always essentially felt like I’d never really be happy with it in the end, as if I’ve just locked myself into this one thing with no remaining options for me to take. I am kind of afraid that I’ll just end up having to choose whether or not I’ll mostly have to basically go to college with nothing besides my ever-so-declining loss of interest in things that’ll particularly leave me with nothing, or continue this path of art where I just always end up doubting myself and my potential. I used to feel so helpless and depressed about it, unmoving from my bed; some of it still leaks out to this day. More recently, though, I was alone home at night, staring off into nothing, my head flooding with thoughts and ideas to where I came to realize what my pursuit of art was really about. It was never about hatred or jealousy, rather it was about how it's my way of making art, and how I'm capable of using emotions I feel to put myself into the things I create. The skills I've learned aren't something that everyone can do in the same way I do. Every line, idea, or erase mark I make is something that displays who I am for all intents and purposes and how I feel, those emotions of hatred and jealousy particularly pushed me into art, contrary to what I thought originally. I was so close-minded and insecure about my art and myself to where all I could think about is how it started and never about what it got me. I should never kind of be ashamed of the way I started it all. I should be happy and thankful for the skills I've learned on the way. Art in particular is meant to display the thoughts and ideas of the maker, it's not something for me to be afraid of doing.

© Tristen Tiscareno. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.